Russian associate of Berlin truck attacker charged with terror offences

Suspect plotted to bomb Germany after police stopped him from joining ISIS in Syria

Suspected militant Magomed-Ali C is escorted by police officers to a helicopter after an arrest hearing. AFP.
Suspected militant Magomed-Ali C is escorted by police officers to a helicopter after an arrest hearing. AFP.

A Russian man who had close links to Anis Amri, the ISIS extremist who killed 12 after driving a truck into a Berlin Christmas market, has been charged with preparing a bombing, German prosecutors said.

In October 2016 police found “significant” amounts of the explosive TATP at Magomed-Ali C’s Berlin house, which authorities believe was to be used to “commit an Islamist motivated attack in Germany to kill as many people as possible”. In line with German privacy laws, the accused’s full name is not revealed.

Mogomed-Ali, reportedly from Dagestan, had planned the explosion along with Amri and another ISIS sympathiser Clément B but cancelled the attack in October 2016 after they were spooked by a police raid. Clément B would later be arrested by French police on 18 April 2017 in possession of firearms and TATP in preparation for another terror plot, while Mogomed-Ali was detained by German authorities on 22 August 2018.

Amri, a Tunisian, drove a large vehicle into a Berlin Christmas market on 19 December 2016, killing 12 and injuring 56. ISIS soon after released a video of Amri, who was shot dead on 23 December, pledging allegiance to the terror group. His two former associates had no idea about his intentions German police said.

Magomed-Ali arrived in Germany in late 2011 with prosecutors claiming he already held extremist viewpoints and considered armed struggle a legitimate means to “enforce this attitude”.

He frequently attended sermons at a Berlin mosque run by the now-banned Fussilet 33 eV organisation, which counted Amri as its supporters too. Other senior members of the mosque have separately been accused of preparing violent acts.

“People who come here to carry out violent acts or preach violence or who, from Berlin, support organisations that carry out Islamist terrorism in countries like Syria and Iraq or collect money for that, train fighters…. organise trips to these areas and recruit fighters for Islamist terrorism, are not welcome here,” Berlin’s interior minister, Andreas Geisal, had said about the mosque in 2017.

Magomed-Ali C attempted travel to Syria to fight with ISIS in mid-2015 but was stopped by police and forbidden from leaving Germany prosecutors said. He contacted Clément B, who he had met in 2013 in Brussels at a “radical” gathering, and the two began preparations for an attack, later contacting Amri for help.

Following a European manhunt, Amri was eventually killed by Italian police two days before Christmas in 2016. A failed asylum seeker, he had been convicted of violent crimes in his home country Tunisia and was a known user of drugs and alcohol.

Published: March 5, 2019 06:40 PM


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